Health Alert – U.S. Mission Australia (March 29, 2020)

Location: Australia

Event:  The Australian Department of Health has confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. Please see the Australian Department of Health’s website<https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers> for statistics that are updated daily.

The U.S. Mission to Australia will be sending a daily update to ensure all U.S. citizens in Australia have the latest information about COVID-19 and local conditions. Updated information will be prefaced with (NEW).

On March 15, 2020, the Australian Government announced:

* all travelers to Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, and

* a ban on cruise liners from foreign ports arriving at Australian ports for 30 days.

Starting no later than 11:59 p.m. on March 28, 2020, all travelers to Australia will be required to undertake their mandatory 14-day self-isolation at their port of entry. Travelers will be transported directly to designated facilities as determined by the relevant state and territory government (for example, a hotel) after appropriate immigration, customs and enhanced health checks. Visit the website of Australian Home Affairs<https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus> for additional information on these new measures. See also the website of each state or territory’s government (Queensland<https://www.qld.gov.au/about/newsroom/queensland-border-restrictions>, Western Australia<https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/coronavirus-covid-19-western-australian-government-response>, the Northern Territory<https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/community-advice/border-controls>, South Australia<https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+topics+a+-+z/covid+2019/latest+updates/latest+updates+-+covid-19>, and Tasmania<https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/Documents/Tasmanian%20Border%20Restrictions.pdf>), and be prepared for restrictions in all Australian states and territories to change with little or no advance notice.

(NEW) The New South Wales Police force is urging the families and friends of travelers returning to Sydney International Airport from 6 a.m. on March 29, 2020, not to come to the airport to greet those travelers<https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/news/news_article?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGZWJpenByZC5wb2xpY2UubnN3Lmdvdi5hdSUyRm1lZGlhJTJGODM5MDcuaHRtbCZhbGw9MQ%3D%3D>. There are no areas in the airport to see or make contact with returned travelers.

On March 25, 2020, the government of Tasmania announced that only residents or essential travelers will be allowed entry<http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/releases/additional_coronavirus_management_measures>; non-residents will be directed to their port of departure or directed to government provided accommodation for self-isolation and charged a fee. More information will be shared as the government announces details. The government of Western Australia has also provided more information on self-isolation requirements involving transit and interstate travel<https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Self-Quarantine%20Following%20Interstate%20Travel%20Directions.pdf>.

The Australian Defense Force will be assisting state and territory governments to undertake quarantine compliance checks, to include visiting the homes and residences of those under mandatory self-isolation.

The government of Australia has implemented measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.  In addition to rules for personal hygiene<https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert#how-to-protect-yourself-and-others> and limits on public gatherings<https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others-from-coronavirus-covid-19/limits-on-public-gatherings-for-coronavirus-covid-19>, the Australian government put in place restrictions on social gatherings and facilities from midday on March 23, 2020.  Additional activities and venues were prohibited<https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-24-March-2020> from March 25, 2020. Visit the Australian government COVID-19 website<https://www.australia.gov.au/> for updated information. The states of New South Wales<https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19>, Victoria<https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus>, and the Australian Capital Territory<https://health.act.gov.au/about-our-health-system/novel-coronavirus-covid-19> require non-essential services to be suspended.

As of March 25, 2020, all non-urgent elective surgery<https://www.pm.gov.au/media/elective-surgery> will be temporarily suspended.

Starting on March 25, 2020, the Australian government is restricting Australian citizens<https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus> and permanent residents from traveling overseas, with some exceptions. Dual U.S.-Australian citizens and U.S. citizen permanent residents of Australia are not exempt from this rule and may be prevented from boarding flights if they do not meet the exception guidelines. Australia announced a travel ban on all non-residents and non-Australian citizens entering Australia that went into effect on Friday, March 20, 2020; this also applies to those transiting Australia. Individuals may request exceptions to the entry and exit restrictions at this link<https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/covid19-enquiry-form>.

U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to work with their airlines to make travel arrangements while flights are still available, even via circuitous routes.  United Airlines is currently the only airline continuing regular direct service between Australia and the United States after March 30.  Many travelers worldwide have reported unexpected flight cancellations and limited flight availability.  If your travel has been disrupted, please contact your airline.

The Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory<https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-4-health-advisory-issue.html> for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Notice for Australia<https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/coronavirus-australia>.

Actions to Take:

* Consult the CDC website<http://www.coronavirus.gov/> for the most up-to-date information.

* For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations<https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fsummary.html>.

* Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov<https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/novel-coronavirus-hubei-province–china.html> for the latest information.

* Check with your airlines, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.

* Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19<https://au.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/> for information on conditions in Australia.

* Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website<https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/02/02/dhs-issues-supplemental-instructions-inbound-flights-individuals-who-have-been-china> on the latest travel restrictions to the United States

Assistance:

* U.S. Consulate General, Sydney, Australia

Level 10, MLC Center

19-29 Martin Place, Sydney, NSW 2000

Telephone: (02) 9373-9200

Email: SydneyACS@state.gov<mailto:SydneyACS@state.gov>

Website: https://au.usembassy.gov/

* U.S. Consulate General, Melbourne, Australia

553 St. Kilda Road
Melbourne, VIC 3004

Telephone: (03) 9526-5900

Email: MelbourneACS@state.gov<mailto:MelbourneACS@state.gov>

Website: https://au.usembassy.gov/

* U.S. Consulate General, Perth, Australia

Level 4
16 St. Georges Terrace
Perth, WA  6000

Telephone: (08) 6144-5100

Email: PerthACS@state.gov<mailto:PerthACS@state.gov>

Website: https://au.usembassy.gov/

* State Department – Consular Affairs: 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

* Australia Country Information<https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Australia.html>

* Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)<https://step.state.gov/> to receive Alerts.

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